“This is the first time ... I actually feel we have equitable funding,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in an interview. “Unfortunately, it had to come during a pandemic.”

For years, Laela Bullock moved to her own rhythm when it came to schoolwork. The switch to remote learning, if anything, brought a welcome break from fights in the hallways of the 15-year-old’s Detroit school, but her grades still lagged.

Things started turning around with one-on-one tutoring this year — paid for with $1.3 billion the Detroit Public Schools Community District is receiving in federal COVID-19 relief aid.

At last, Laela is reading above her grade level, and on track to graduate on time, said her mother, Alicia Bullock.

“I’m so proud,” Bullock said.

The Detroit school system is putting much of its relief money toward tutoring, after-school programs and other efforts to shore up student achievement. District leaders hope the money will not only help students catch up on what they missed during the coronavirus pandemic, but also fix some of what has been broken for decades, reports the AP.

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